FRONTLINE FLASH | Hope for Sharks

Did you know that a shark is killed every few seconds for its fins? Still alive but unable to swim, sharks are thrown back into the water where they slowly die or are eaten by other predators. Why?

Because of an appetite for shark fin soup, an expensive ‘delicacy’ that can be laced with toxic chemicals, the trade in fins is one of the biggest risks to shark populations worldwide and has already driven many species to extinction. These ancient predators keep other fish populations in check and help the marine world’s most productive and colorful ecosystems – coral reefs – to thrive, which in turn provides tourism jobs and much-needed revenue for cash-strapped communities.

What can we do about it? Don’t fret – there is still hope.

Freeland and its partners are continuously working to raise awareness of these threats and reduce the demand for shark fin products. With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program, the Fin Free program was designed to highlight the importance of shark conservation, and to educate consumers about the barbarity of the shark fin trade and how these products may be more of a bane than boon for human health.

Hope for Sharks: Fin Free Campaign Reduces Supply

Results from nearly three years of campaigning show that more than 180 hotels, restaurants and supermarkets in Thailand are part of a growing number of companies pledging never to sell shark fin products. Fin Free is a campaign run by Thailand-based NGOs with support from USAID’s ARREST program. The campaign also raises awareness of the plight of sharks and the threats posed to humans from consuming them. While conservationists continue to curb the demand for these products, Fin Free restricts the supply by developing a “Blue List” of companies that agree not to sell them. Prominent members of the hospitality sector on the list are now joining campaigns to reduce the trade in other endangered species too. Come to the ARREST Program close-out on September 15 to learn more about the specific progress and lessons learned from this and other behavior change programs aimed at reducing the endangered species trade.

USAID’s Largest Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program Highlights Achievements this September in Bangkok

The main accomplishments of the ARREST program, together with lessons learned and the many tools and legacies of the program, will be presented at a press conference held in Bangkok on September 15 at 11 a.m., with key ARREST partners from across Asia, including representatives from government agencies, NGOs, and members of the local and international media. USAID encourages everyone to join the event at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, located on the top floor of the Maneeya Center Building, next to the Chitlom BTS station. For more information, please contact Freeland, the lead implementing partner of ARREST, at